This kind of thinking is no gospel. Where is the good news?
This writer says, “If your love is distracted by someone else then you are not worthy. If your love is not given completely, then you are not worthy.”
Scripture tells us we love God because He first loved us. We are not worthy of God’s love but that’s Who God is (God is love just don’t confuse with love is God…). God loves us and demonstrated His love for us by sending Jesus to die for our sins and even our bad motives for good things we do.
I can’t pick myself up by my own bootstraps and “be worthy”. It’s impossible.
This is why we need grace. We’re not worthy of anything God gives us except His wrath, and Jesus is our propitiation (He satisfied God’s wrath for us and in our place). Without Christ, we are children of wrath but with Christ we are children of grace.
I am not worthy of God’s love but He certainly is worthy of my love and devotion. Thankfully I rest in Christ’s work on my behalf and not on my own effort or merit.
I am not worthy but Christ is worthy for me and in my place. That’s good news.
6 We have all become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment.
We all fade like a leaf,
and our iniquities, like the wind, take us away. (ESV)
23 for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, (ESV)
Paul writes in his second letter to the church at Corinth, “But He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
I awoke to a song on the radio about grace. Mmm…. Grace.
My thoughts turned to what is commonly known by theologians (pardon the pun) as common grace, as well as, special grace.
Both kinds of grace are mediated through Jesus.
explains, “All things were made through Him, and without Him was not any thing made that was made.” In other words, everything that exists is because it was created and made by Jesus. conveys this fact, “For from Him (Jesus) and through Him (Jesus) and to Him (Jesus) are all things. To Him (Jesus) be glory forever. Amen.”
Do you realize, you are alive this very moment by the power of Jesus? tells us, “He (Jesus) is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of His nature, and He upholds the universe by the word of his power.”
This is common to all of creation. All of creation is upheld by the word of his power!
Now what is so special about special grace? tells us, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.”
It is this special grace that saves us. Paul continues in Ephesians, “For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them.”
It is grace in Jesus that creates us. It is grace in Jesus that re-creates us through faith in Him. This is nothing of our own doing.
We have nothing to do with our first birth, and we have nothing to do with our second birth. It is all of grace.
This is good news! This is the Gospel because it is all of Jesus. This is grace.
3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. (ESV)
36 For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (ESV)
3 He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, (ESV)
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast. (ESV)
5:1 For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery.
2 Look: I, Paul, say to you that if you accept circumcision, Christ will be of no advantage to you. 3 I testify again to every man who accepts circumcision that he is obligated to keep the whole law. 4 You are severed from Christ, you who would be justified by the law; you have fallen away from grace. 5 For through the Spirit, by faith, we ourselves eagerly wait for the hope of righteousness. 6 For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision counts for anything, but only faith working through love.
7 You were running well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? 8 This persuasion is not from him who calls you. 9 A little leaven leavens the whole lump. 10 I have confidence in the Lord that you will take no other view than mine, and the one who is troubling you will bear the penalty, whoever he is. 11 But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. 12 I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate themselves!
13 For you were called to freedom, brothers. Only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole law is fulfilled in one word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, watch out that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. 17 For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, 21 envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (ESV)
“We glorify God by working out our own salvation. God has twisted together, his glory and our good. We glorify him by promoting our own salvation. It is a glory to God to have multitudes of converts; his design of free grace takes effect, and God has the glory of his mercy; so that, while we are endeavoring our salvation, we are honoring God.
What an encouragement is this to the service of God, to think, “while I am hearing and praying, I am glorifying God; while I am furthering my own glory in heaven, I am increasing God’s glory!”
Would it not be an encouragement to a subject, to hear his prince say to him, “You will honor and please me very much, if you will go to yonder mine of gold, and dig as much gold for yourself as you can carry away”? So, for God to say, “Go to the ordinances, get as much grace as you can, dig out as much salvation as you can; and the more happiness you have, the more I shall count myself glorified!”
Thomas Watson, A Body of Divinity (Banner of Truth: 1890, 2000), 13–14.
(HT: Peter Cockrell)